Julie Rovner

Julie Rovner is a health policy correspondent for NPR specializing in the politics of health care.

Reporting on all aspects of health policy and politics, Rovner covers the White House, Capitol Hill, the Department of Health and Human Services in addition to issues around the country. She served as NPR's lead correspondent covering the passage and implementation of the 2010 health overhaul bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

A noted expert on health policy issues, Rovner is the author of a critically-praised reference book Health Care Politics and Policy A-Z. Rovner is also co-author of the book Managed Care Strategies 1997, and has contributed to several other books, including two chapters in Intensive Care: How Congress Shapes Health Policy, edited by political scientists Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann.

In 2005, Rovner was awarded the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress for her coverage of the passage of the Medicare prescription drug law and its aftermath.

Rovner has appeared on television on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, C-Span, MSNBC, and NOW with Bill Moyers. Her articles have appeared in dozens of national newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, USA Today, Modern Maturity, and The Saturday Evening Post.

Prior to NPR, Rovner covered health and human services for the Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, specializing in health care financing, abortion, welfare, and disability issues. Later she covered health reform for the Medical News Network, an interactive daily television news service for physicians, and provided analysis and commentary on the health reform debates in Congress for NPR. She has been a regular contributor to the British medical journal The Lancet. Her columns on patients' rights for the magazine Business and Health won her a share of the 1999 Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award.

An honors graduate, Rovner has a degree in political science from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

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Shots - Health News
10:00 am
Fri June 12, 2015

The Uninsured Rate Is Low, But Proving It's The Lowest Ever Is Tricky

"Nearly 1 in 3 uninsured Americans have already been covered — more than 16 million people -– driving our uninsured rate to its lowest level ever," President Obama told a cheering crowd at the Catholic Health Association's annual conference Tuesday.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Almost no one disputes that the implementation of the federal health law has helped Americans who were previously uninsured gain coverage. But exactly how much has the uninsured rate dropped?

A whole lot, says President Obama.

"Nearly 1 in 3 uninsured Americans have already been covered — more than 16 million people -– driving our uninsured rate to its lowest level ever," he told a cheering crowd at the Catholic Health Association's annual conference Tuesday. "Ever," he added for emphasis.

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Shots - Health News
10:55 am
Mon June 8, 2015

5 Questions Answered On The Legal Challenge To Obamacare Subsidies

People protesting against the Affordable Care Act rallied outside the Supreme Court in March, before arguments in the second major challenge to the law.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 3:09 pm

By the end of June, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on King v. Burwell, a case challenging the validity of the federal tax subsidies that help millions of Americans buy health insurance if they don't get coverage through an employer. If the court rules against the Obama administration, those subsidies could be cut off for people in about three dozen states using HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange website.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the case.

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Shots - Health News
4:45 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements To Lure English Majors

Dr. David Muller, dean of medical education at Mount Sinai, believes that including in each medical school class some students who have a strong background in the humanities makes traditional science students better doctors, too.
Cindy Carpien for NPR

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 12:04 pm

You can't tell by looking which students at Mount Sinai's school of medicine in New York City were traditional pre-meds as undergraduates and which weren't. And that's exactly the point.

Most of the class majored in biology or chemistry, crammed for the medical college admission test and got flawless grades and scores.

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Shots - Health News
11:08 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Health Plans Often Fail To Provide Free Coverage For Women's Health

After the conversation about contraception, will there be a copay?
Garo/Phanie Science Source

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 8:31 pm

Many women were thrilled when the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010, because it required insurance companies to cover a broad array of women's health services without any out-of-pocket costs.

Five years later, however, the requirement isn't being enforced, according to two new studies. Health insurance plans around the country are failing to provide many of those legally mandated services including birth control and cancer screenings.

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Shots - Health News
3:39 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Medical Schools Reboot For 21st Century

Dr. Raj Mangrulkar and medical student Jesse Burk-Rafel at the University of Michigan Medical School. Good communication skills, teamwork and adaptability will help doctors thrive through swift changes in medical science, Mangrulkar says.
Leisa Thompson Courtesy of University of Michigan Medical School

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:27 pm

Medicine has changed a lot in the past 100 years. But medical training hasn't — until now. Spurred by the need to train a different type of doctor, some top medical schools around the U.S. are tearing up the textbooks and starting from scratch.

Most medical schools still operate under a model pioneered in the early 1900s by an educator named Abraham Flexner.

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Shots - Health News
11:01 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Even In Nursing, Men Earn More Than Women

If he's a nurse anesthetist, he could be making $17,290 a year more than his female counterparts.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 4:52 pm

Women outnumber men in the nursing profession by more than 10 to 1. But men still earn more, a new study finds.

Even after controlling for age, race, marital status and children in the home, males in nursing outearned females by nearly $7,700 per year in outpatient settings and nearly $3,900 in hospitals.

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Shots - Health News
2:33 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

Obamacare Cut The Ranks Of The Uninsured By A Third

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 9:20 am

A total of 16.4 million non-elderly adults have gained health insurance coverage since the Affordable Care Act became law five years ago this month. It's a reduction in the ranks of the uninsured the the Department of Health and Human Services called historic.

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Shots - Health News
3:06 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Few Clues On Health Law's Future Emerge In Supreme Court Arguments

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act protest outside the Supreme Court Wednesday before oral arguments in the second major challenge to be heard by the justices.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 4, 2015 3:30 pm

For the second time in three years, the Affordable Care Act went before the Supreme Court Wednesday. And before a packed courtroom, a divided group of justices mostly picked up right where they left off the last time.

Once again, people inside the courtroom and out were left to wonder where Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered swing votes in the case, stand. A decision is expected by the end of June.

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Shots - Health News
9:09 am
Fri February 27, 2015

5 Things To Know About The Latest Supreme Court Challenge To Health Law

The Affordable Care Act will take center stage at the Supreme Court on March 4.
Drew Angerer Getty Images

The Affordable Care Act is once again before the Supreme Court.

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Shots - Health News
8:22 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Is Now The Time To Fix Rather Than Scrap Obamacare?

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, leaves the chamber Feb. 3 after another House vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 10:32 am

Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, "repeal and replace" has been the rallying cry for Republicans who opposed it. But now that most of the law's provisions have taken effect, some health experts are pitching ways to tweak it, rather than eliminate it.

An ideologically diverse panel at the National Health Policy Conference on Monday presented different ideas to make the law work better. But the panelists agreed on one thing: The Affordable Care Act is too complicated.

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